Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Utah Local: Wildflower Studios

My kids are creative and artistic and they enjoy expressing themselves through art and music. One activity we have done before is painting pottery and we have some fun pieces from doing that.

When Elisa was on choir tour recently, Sabrina and I were trying to figure out something fun to do so we went to a new place in Spanish Fork called Wildflower Studios where you choose a bisque piece and paint it and they fire it in a kiln.

It's at 1274 E. Center Street in Spanish Fork right near Highway 6 in the shopping strip with Domino's and across the street from the gas station right on that corner.

You go in and choose a piece, which has the price on it, on take it to the table. You pay a studio fee in addition to that price to cover the paint and firing. I think the studio fee is $5 - $7 depending on the size of the piece. There are lots of little animal figurines and fun stuff for kids and also vases or dishes for more adult décor. They have some unique pieces, Disney pieces, small ones, large ones.

So we found our pieces and sat down to paint, only I could not figure out what to paint on my plate. I am not creative and artistic like my children so I was afraid to start painting. I didn't want to end up with a colorful blob. I ended up slowly, but surely, with a bird on my plate.
Sabrina chose a small cup and saucer. For a few months she wanted to paint a cup that said, "Fuzby and Murphy", the names of her two hamsters. Murphy died just a few days before we went to Wildflower Studios, but she still wanted to paint that.
Here's a look around the studio from the table I was sitting at.

 Sabrina wasn't happy with her stencil work (they have lots of stencils there for you to use), but it's a special piece for her.

After being fired in the kiln, the paint colors look different.

Here is Fuzby in his cup, trying to get out.
And introducing Sabrina's newest hamster, Gus, who she bought after painting the cup and saucer. She plans on making him something soon too.

Ruby and Robin are the owners who enjoy art and love making this experience available to people in southern Utah County. I like to support small, local businesses and I hope many people go have fun there and support them so it can stay open for a long time to come. Go there for your child's birthday party, bridal shower, group date, family night or just for fun. And right now is a GREAT time to go make something for Mother's Day for a loving lady.

Don't forget to like them on Facebook!

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Thirty-One Gifts Party

I'm having a party on May 12 for my friend Stacie who sells Thirty-One Gifts products and you are invited to participate virtually by going to the website at Thirtyone.com and then giving me your order any time before the party. Or if I know you in person (or we've been blogger friends for a long time), I can give you info to come to the actual party.

If you order anything at all or if you come to the party, your name will be put into a drawing for this awesome tote below with lots of pockets. It works great as a diaper bag, church bag, pool bag, fun on the run bag, whatever!

Thanks to my daughter's friend for modeling
Thirty-One Gifts has so many products like lunch bags, fashion purses, organizing bins, jewelry, bins, caddies, wallets and more!

And lots of the products can be personalized.
So if you'd like to order any of this great stuff, just let me know!! I can get answers to any questions you might have about the products.

A New Perspective

I got to hear from Alex again last night. Now that he has his iPad, he can email me a little earlier in his p-day so I go the letter before 8:30 Sunday night (Monday morning in Japan). I'm so glad to hear that he's doing great and looking good too. I've never seen him hang out with so many guys since he is outnumbered at home and many of his friends before his mission were girls.

I told him that we went to my sister and brother-in-law's restaurant in Mt. Pleasant called Pioneer House. Remember my post about it recently? Here's what he said about that and a few other things (like running or not due to his asthma and dislike of running) in his letter to me.

I am glad to hear that the Mercer's restaurant is doing really well. It sounds delicious. I'm sure it's still not as delicious as their food, but McDonalds is a lot better here than in America. We don't go too often, but I really can't complain about the quality of the food here. 

I feel like I have grown so much more in these 6 months on a mission than I ever would have had I chosen to not come. My testimony has been strengthens so much, and I am just s completely different person than when I started already. I can't say what has changed specifically, but when I look back at my past self I see a huge difference. The changes are so gradual that it's hard to tell when or what is changing. 

My shoes are holding up well, and I should be fine for a while yet. I don't really do too much different for exercise in the morning, but Elder F. wants to start running. I am a bit apprehensive about running in the mornings, but he might ask one of the other two to go with him. He hasn't started yet, because it's been cold in the mornings still over here. 

I love so much of conference that it's hard to pick a favorite. I guess the one that is sticking out to me right now is Elder Holland's talk. I also loved Elder Eyring's from priesthood session. 
This photo is a bit old (with his old companion Elder O.), but he said someone had it on their iPhone and he was just able to get a copy of it since he got an iPad.

Here's his letter to everyone: 

Yesterday as I was sitting in a car on the way back to yonezawa from
Fukushima, I had a sudden enlightenment. I was looking out at two men
having a conversation and wondering about it as well as saw other
people walking by and watched the cars as they all moved towards their
destinations when it suddenly dawned on me: God our Loving Heavenly
Father knows all that goes on. He knows the conversations we have, he
knows the thoughts we have, and he knows where every single car is
heading. And he loves everyone even more than any earthly father has
ever loved his children. He cares about everything they do and wants
them to be happy. I've always believed it, but I've never known it as
strongly as I now know.

The week's kanji is: 従う pronounced sheet-a-gow and means to follow.

 And now for the weekly summary.

Monday: we basically took full advantage of preparation day by
relaxing and not doing too much at all. In the evening we  tried to
visit people, but no one was home.

Tuesday: we had DCS in the morning followed by visiting Brother Seino.
After that we had a planning meeting for a Easter party we had on
Saturday. We got all the last minute item out of the way, and then
went and bought most of the things we needed for the party. We then
went no tried to hang up an English class poster in a community
center, but they couldn't. We then went back to the apartment, had
dinner, and then closed the day.

Wednesday: in the morning we took a bus up to Sendai, and had a
meeting on health. When that ended, we had lunch all together, and
then had to catch a bus back to yonezawa. When we got back, we had
dinner and then taught English class. One of our zone leaders came
with us for companion exchanges with Elder P., so he helped me
with teaching advanced class.

Thursday: we went to visit Sister Taira and we had a great time
talking with her. She is a very strong member, and she has a lot of
faith. When we were going to leave, she surprised us by giving us each
a "white black thunder," a variant of a chocolate bar called black
thunder that is from Hokkaido (north of the main island). It was very
delicious. After that we went back to the apartment and we organized
less active records before we went to the church and passed out fliers
for our English class and waved at cars as they passed by so that they
could see the sign we made. The entire hour Elder F. spun a
basketball on his fingers, and he said that his fingers were raw for a
while after that. We then went to the Endo family and had an amazing
time with them. The mother had made great food, and we shared a good
message and got to play a few fun games with the kids before we left.

Friday: we did weekly planning so the majority of our day was inside.
When we got most of it finished, we went and tried to visit some less
active members, but we didn't have too much success with meeting any
of them. So we returned to the apartment, finished planning the
upcoming week, and then called people to invite them to the Easter

Saturday: we had a meeting with the Goto couple, and there was a lot
of random conversation that took place in that meeting. We then shared
a quick message with them, and then left to prepare for the party.
Eventually we got all the stuff ready, and the party started. At first
it was really slow and awkward, but by the time the games started,
everyone was having fun. We even got to color eggs for Easter
tradition. We ended by having a snack of French toast and sausage, and
some cake an English class student brought.

Beautiful night shot of Sakura (cherry blossoms)

Sunday: at the last minute the night previous, we were asked if we
could go to Fukushima ward, so we did. The ward is still amazing, and
they are really healthy. They were all so amazed about the iPads, and
how many amazing things we can do to further missionary work. After
the church block, we had personal study, and then we got a ride back
to yonezawa. We tried to visit some people, and stopped by the shrine,
but there wasn't too much at the shrine when we went, and no one was
home. So we went back to the apartment and did language study and then
had dinner.

This week has flown by and I am amazed at how much has happened in
that blink of an eye. I hope that you are all doing well, and I truly
love all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Elder _____


Sunday, April 19, 2015


My son left for his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6 months ago. He sends an email every week and he says he loves Japan and being a missionary. I love photos of him, of course, more than anything, but I also love to see photos of other missionaries. Even with their day-to-day hard work and discouragements, or possibly because of them, they seem to glow. They spend so much time in the service of the Lord, reading scriptures, praying, and teaching that the light is there.

So this song isn't one that most people would hear and think of missionaries, but when I heard it, it's the first thing that I thought of. "The more things change, the more they shine." I've only seen the changes in my son from a distance, but I see him shine. I want to see his glow and hope that that glow never dulls.

Glow Lyrics:

I wanna be your rush love, I wanna hold you to the stars
The way light shines in the park on a Sunday afternoon
I want you to be big, want you to be gold,
I want you to be, sky

The more things change
The more they shine

Glow, I wanna see you glow
I wanna see your daylight shining all around your
Heart I wanna see you glow, I wanna see your daylight so bright
All around my soul

I wanna see you soar love, oh, I wanna see you fly
Kick of the world in the dark and just dive, just dive

The more things change
The more they shine


I'll run this world with you
(glow, I wanna see you glow)
And I'll run this world with you
(glow, I wanna see you glow)
Glow, I wanna see you glow

I wanna see your daylight shining all around your
Heart I wanna see you glow, I wanna see your daylight so bright
All around my glow, I wanna see you glow
I wanna see your daylight shining all around your
Heart I wanna see you glow, I wanna see your daylight so bright
All around my soul

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cranberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken and Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Today I went to California Pizza Kitchen for the first time. Yep, the first time. And I got to sample several dishes since the ladies I went with all shared family style. Two of the dishes were salads, very different from each other. One with watermelon and strawberries and the other was a Thai salad. They were both super yummy and I hope I can have them again sometime.

It reminded me that I made a new salad last month that I never posted on my blog, so here is the salad from Cooking Classy, which has an orange dressing to kind of go along with the orange theme from the last post (Orange Bars). As you can tell by the photos, I threw some oranges into the salad, but the dressing has a fresh citrus flavor so you don't need to if you don't want to.

Cranberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken and Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. canola oil
2 t. orange zest
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. honey
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. salt
1 T. poppy seeds
1 lb. chicken, grilled
9 oz. baby spinach
2 medium avocados, cored and diced
1 c. crumbled feta
3/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
3/4 c. dried cranberries
Add olive oil, canola oil, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard and salt to a blender. Pulse until well emulsified. Pour into a jar and stir in poppy seeds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately.